Will Uber be able to steer away from the bad image it has created in recent years under Travis Kalanick’s leadership?
A top Uber investor has filed a lawsuit against Travis Kalanick alleging that the former CEO furnished the company board with his own supporters.
Benchmark Capital is behind the accusation, a venture capital firm that owns 13 per cent of Uber. Kalanick is accused of orchestrating a plan to secure his position of control over the company.
At the core of the accusation is a 2016 plan to increase the number of board members to 11 up from an original eight. Ultimately when Kalanick lost his position as CEO, he assumed one of the newly added seats.
This action, Benchmark Capital claims, was taken by Kalanick to protect himself from the repercussions of the numerous black marks against the company that have been accrued in recent years.
The bad press that has bombarded Uber includes grievances pertaining to sexual harassment, discrimination, and the alleged theft of Waymo secrets at the hands of an Uber engineer. Kalanick was subjected to investor pressure prior to resigning.
Upon leaving the position, Kalanick said he would remain a part of the decision making process, taking up one of the newly created board seats of which he had control.
Since this point, Arianna Huffington, the first woman to sit on the Uber board, has emerged as the public face of the company in a bid to steer it away from disaster. With issues of sexism also contributing to the rot at the core of the company, Huffington’s approach may prove crucial to the future image of Uber.
Huffington is a major advocate for furthering the position of women in business and the workplace more generally, and succeeded on an ambition to bring another woman onto the Uber board following her own entry as the first.